South Africa’s Hello Paisa wins Clients at the Centre Prize, pockets $150,000

The MasterCard Foundation has awarded its second annual Clients at the Centre Prize to Hello Paisa. The US $150,000 Prize recognizes the company’s innovative work in South Africa to facilitate international money transfer for foreign workers.

The award came after over 300 members of the audience at the MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion voted for one of three finalist firms competing for the Prize. The Symposium is the annual gathering of financial service practitioners and experts serving the needs of poor people in developing countries, being held this year from October 20-21 in Kigali, Rwanda.

The MasterCard Foundation believes that banks and other financial service providers in developing countries should focus on the needs and expectations of people living in poverty. Putting poor clients at the centre of the design of new financial products and services helps bring underserved people into the formal banking system, improving their livelihoods and their ability to plan for the future.

The Clients at the Centre Prize identifies and recognizes the most customer-focused organizations working to deliver access to formal financial products and services to poor people. Ahmed Cassim, MD, Hello Group Financial Services unit, said “This exercise with The MasterCard Foundation has been truly amazing. It’s forced us to look deeper into client centricity and really ask ourselves some challenging questions. We are truly honoured to have won this prize and we will not let the Foundation down.”

“Hello Paisa has shown, and the audience agreed, that we can only achieve full universal financial inclusion if financial service providers truly understand the context and needs of the people that they serve.” said Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods at the MasterCard Foundation. “Hello Paisa is doing just that. It understands that in order to provide for financially underserved communities, the clients they serve must be at the very centre of all of their efforts.” The other two Prize finalists were Artoo IT Solutions, a digital lending business and 4G Capital, a loan company focused on micro-entrepreneurs.